On Friday, Feb. 5, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner gave an update at the South Florida Fairgrounds on local COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The briefing site was next to the large tent that will serve as the county’s new mass vaccination center.
Joining Mayor Kerner were Darcy Davis, CEO of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, and Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health-Palm Beach County, along with Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth, Commissioner Maria Marino, Commissioner Gregg Weiss and Commissioner Maria Sachs, and County Administrator Verdenia Baker.
Friday marked Day 326 of Level 2 activation at the Emergency Operations Center. To date, the county has reported 109,219 cases of COVID-19 and 2,238 fatalities; 624 new cases were reported Thursday.
Over the past six weeks, 174,573 people in Palm Beach County have been vaccinated, 80 percent of them age 65 or older. So far, approximately 40 percent of seniors in the county over age 65 have been vaccinated. Palm Beach County is second overall among all Florida counties in distributing first doses of the vaccine.
Mass Vaccinations — Palm Beach County is ready, prepared and equipped to begin mass distribution of vaccines at the fairgrounds site based on available doses. The 22,000-square-foot, air-conditioned tent facility is capable of handling 7,000 residents per day. There are 24 vaccination stations and self-service kiosks inside.
Limited Rollout — In partnership with the Health Care District and the Florida Department of Health, Palm Beach County plans to open the fairgrounds vaccination site for a limited rollout on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The Health Care District will contact residents and arrange appointments. Residents should not show up at any location without an appointment. Everyone eligible to get a vaccination is advised to do so, even if they have had COVID-19. However, you must be symptom-free at the time the shot is administered.
Vaccine Supplies — The challenge will be getting enough doses of the vaccine. The current supply of doses will fill appointments for one week. As the supply increases over the next several months, the county’s vaccination efforts and strategy will be expanded to include fixed, regionally located vaccination centers in the south, central, north and west areas of the county, points of distribution, clinic operations and mobile pop-up community sites.
Pop-Ups — Gov. Ron DeSantis has set up several mobile pop-up vaccination sites in Palm Beach County, including one that opened Wednesday in Pahokee.
Strike Teams — Along with Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue, strike teams from Tallahassee were at six locations throughout the county on Friday administering 5,500 vaccines by appointment in locations that were identified by community partners and the residents. These teams are critical to vaccinating targeted populations, such as Black and Hispanic residents. To date, more than 10 percent of these populations have been vaccinated.
Stores — The governor announced Thursday that Winn-Dixie and Walmart stores will be joining Publix in distributing vaccinations.
Reminders — A facial coverings mandate remains in effect in Palm Beach County. Residents should follow the 3 Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands often and watch your distance. Avoid the 3 Cs: closed spaces, crowded places and confined spaces.